"Chapter Five: The Particle Theory of Darkness"
Writer: Bill Willingham
Artists: Justiniano (p), Walden Wong (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: After achieving a win against both the Spectre and the new Eclipso, the Shadowpact takes a breather. Eclipso also helps the Spectre renew his energies. Captain Marvel leaves the group to check in with the wizard Shazam and the group plans one last gambit to destroy the Spectre before he succeeds in destroying all of the magic in the universe.
Commentary: It occurs to me that if this book wasn't connected to Infinite Crisis that it might have been something of a sleeper comic. It doesn't have the feel of a high profile book, at least for me. OMAC Project and the Rann/Thanagar War both have a big budget feel to them. Like Villains United has going for it, Day of Vengeance lives or dies on the characters involved and like Villains United, this book is about a bunch of small-timers going up against an adversary (little in-joke there) that is much bigger than them.
Where the two books diverge is the fact that Villains United is a more mainstream type of book. Villainsis a very well written book, but it does have a more socially acceptable premise that Vengeance. In all honesty, a book about a group of B-list villains going up against the A-list villains is more palatable for the average reader than a group of B-list magical characters going up against a new version of a B-list magical villain and the Spectre. The stakes are just as high, but since magic is a more hidden type of phenomenon, the ramifications are not immediately pressing to people. You tell the average citizen of the DCU that all of the prisons holding meta-human criminals are going to have a massive break-out all at the same time, and they'll get nervous. You tell them that the Spectre is trying to wipe out all of the magic in the world, and they'll stare at you and then ask why you're bothering them.
It's all about context.
Overlooking this book would have been a shame too because the writing is excellent. Willingham, like Simone, has pulled together a great cast of characters and is playing with them nicely. This issue was a nice breather while the two factions caught their breath before going into battle once more. I am excited that Willingham has brought in Black Alice who was one of the more interesting characters Gail created for Brids of Prey.
I also appreciated the fact that everyone got equal screen time this issue. This is a wonderful cast of characters and they represent a portion of the DCU that has been ignored for some time now. Every once in a while some of the magic users get a little attention, but never on this scale. The Enchantress has always been a favorite of mine, but the fact that characters like Nightshade are making their way back into comics is just great. For me she was the emotional hook for the issue. The conversation between her and Black Alice at the end cemented her character and her place in the book.
The art in this issue was great as well. The two page spread at the beginning of issue was some of the best from the series as was the battle between Black Alice and the Spectre. Justiniano and Wong have a style that really reflects the type of story being told. A clean style would be out of place here.
In the End: This may not be my favorite of the four prelude series but that doesn't mean I'm not enjoying it. Willingham is crafting a great story, which along with Justiniano and Wong's art has made for a solid read.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!